I finally played my first competitive squash match last night. I knew it was coming sometime but as my opponent was responsible for booking the court I didn’t know when. I did have eight hours warning – not enough unfortunately to prevent my 10 mile training run yesterday morning but that was no excuse for what followed!
In competitive sport there are a number of ways you can lose. The game can be closely competed and there is little between the two players. Well it wasn’t like that. It can be one-sided where one opponent is clearly stronger. It wasn’t even like that. It can be a total mismatch where one player thrashes the other. Yes it was like that and believe me I was the one getting thrashed! The scores were 9-0, 9-2, 9-2. Because we finished early we played two further games which my opponent won 9-4, 9-7 (he was slacking off by then and giving me points) Clearly my squash has a long way to go. I need to learn to serve; I need to learn dos and donts; I need to learn the absolute basics to be honest. I struggled with not facing my opponent; I struggled with the different heights and walls that come into play and at times I struggled just to return the ball. So it wasn’t pretty and I have a long journey to make. And clearly I need to learn how to hold the racket and play strokes because my right forearm is killing me this morning. So much so that I am lifting my mug of tea with my left hand!
On a more positive note, I’m starting to look forward to the 10k on Sunday. My training has gone well despite the fact that my weight remains stubbornly high. The long run yesterday was to build stamina and confidence. I’ll do two more sessions of interval training, probably today and tomorrow before resting for 2 days before the run. I’m confident of going under 45 minutes but I’m certainly not taking it for granted either.
For the next four weeks I’m aiming to run 5 times a week. This is more than usual; more intense than usual and accordingly more demanding and exhausting than usual. I wouldn’t be doing it if I wasn’t so dashed competitive and driven. I know I can run the 10k on 22 September under 45 minutes barring some gale-force winds; natural disaster or injury but I just want to make sure. So the weekly programme is Monday a 10k run on the actual course; Tuesday 5k including the 10 exercise stations in Inverleith Park. Here’s one of the brutes :
Wednesday is interval training at the local park; Thursday is more intense interval training and Saturday is Edinburgh parkrun 5k. Friday and Sunday are rest days. All the runs are timed and my aim is to increase speed and lower times each week. So far so good but I’m aware of the dangers of pushing this too hard. That being said I was delighted to achieve an unexpected personal best in last Saturday’s parkrun. Unexpected because I’d broken my no-alcohol pledge on the Friday night. Maybe there was rocket fuel in the white wine! Conditions on Saturday were perfect for the run and for once my pacing was fairly decent.
I’m busy, busy, busy because I’m trying to fit the training listed above into my already busy schedule. And I’m also due to play my first game of squash very soon. The person below me in the ladder has challenged me to a game and if he beats me we swap places. I don’t really want this to happen so I’ll be trying my hardest when we reach court. I’m hoping I can put it off until after the 10k but I fear not. I’ll keep you posted!
Meanwhile in other news the irrespressible Vicki Weitz has this very day completed her 26th marathon in 26 days. Vicki you’re a legend!
I’ve not been writing this blog for a while and here’s the reason why.
This gorgeous dog came to stay with us for his holidays. In his mouth is his most treasured possession – his bath mat. I spent a lot of time catering to his lordship’s every need and in return he contributed to the work of the household. One evening he heard me say that I must remember to put the rubbish out and he saved me the trouble by doing it himself.
Despite that minor misunderstanding he really is the most gorgeous dog and I’m so lucky that his owner trusts me with him.
But to less important things. Since completing the marathon I’ve been in denial about needing a new physical challenge. I thought it was taking up squash but I haven’t even started playing and won’t it appears until September at the earliest. So when I heard about a flattish course 10k coming up in Edinburgh on 22 September I had my application in quicker than a ferret up a trouser leg (don’t try this at home) So I have my next challenge – to run a sub 45 minute 10k. It should be possible. My one previous 10k on a very uphill course ended in 45 minutes 5 seconds. How annoying that was. Admittedly it was 2 years ago when I was younger and fitter but I can work towards this run knowing that it is theoretically possible. It is just under 6 weeks away and I’ve found a 6 week 10k training schedule which I aim to use. I’m disappointed that I’ve given in to the temptation to try another challenge so quickly and have very little to say in mitigation. I’m pleading guilty and hoping for a merciful judge.
I ran a marathon last month. I’d always wanted to do one and after some pretty intensive training over a period of months I achieved my goal. New readers can find the blog which painfully covered this period here
As the marathon approached I found two strong pulls in my life. Half of me couldn’t wait for the actual day. But half of me didn’t want it to come because of the anti-climax I would feel after the initial exhilaration of achieving it passed. And boy has the post-marathon depression been strong. There is still the sense of achievement but I need something to keep me going. The options after a marathon commonly appear to be a) another marathon; b) a triathlon or c) an ultra marathon. None of these are possibilities for me so in the meantime I’ve entered a squash ladder. Oops – I’ve only played one game of squash around 35 years ago! Hopefully I’ll find some other manageable targets to work at and write about so please do join me on the next stage of my journey. And if you have any ideas of targets for me, please drop me a comment. Thank you!